At least 39 people across Central American have been killed in flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rains. Most of the deaths occurred in El Salvador. El Salvador's government has declared a state of emergency and is evacuating thousands of people. President Tony Saca warned that there is a danger of landslides in 60 per cent of the country after three days of solid rainfall. Officials warn there could be more rain to come.
Zimbabwean state media says police have arrested more than 14,000 people in the last two weeks as part of a crackdown on black market traders. The arrests follow a two-month operation to destroy illegal shantytowns and market stalls in which an estimated 700,000 people lost their homes. A United Nations investigation condemned the operation, saying it was inhumane. Police say the latest round of arrests is aimed at stopping illegal traders from returning to the capital city.
The Ethiopian government has announced that an estimated 50,000 nomads will be relocated as a result of a volcanic eruption. No one was killed in the eruption which took place last week, but hundreds of livestock died and large areas of land which the nomads used to graze their cattle are now covered in lava. The nomads will now be moved to an area 400 kilometres south of the volcano. The volcano Mount Arteale is 1,000 kilometres north of the capital Addis Ababa. It erupted after an earthquake struck, measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale.
Iraq’s Special Tribunal has announced that Saddam Hussein will go on trial on the 19th of October. Seven other men will be tried including the former vice president of Iraq, Taha Yassin Ramadan, and Saddam Hussein's half-brother and former head of intelligence, Barzan Ibrahim al-Hassan. The men face charges over the 1982 killing of 143 Shias, following an attempt on Saddam’s life. They face the death penalty if found guilty. Saddam’s lawyer earlier asked for the trial to be delayed, saying the defence had not been informed of the trial date. He also said the defence had not been given full access to Saddam himself or full details of the charges against him.
Today is the start of the Islamic month of Ramadan. Religious authorities in the Arab world said the crescent moon was sighted after sunset yesterday, signaling the start of a month of prayer and fasting for more than a billion Muslims. Ramadan is the ninth month in the lunar calendar, when it is believed that the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the prophet Muhammad. During this month Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and sexual relations during daylight hours.
After 42 years of campaigning, Turkey has officially begun membership talks with the European Union. In December all 25 EU countries voted to begin membership talks with Turkey in October this year. However the talks came under threat when Austria raised last-minute objections to offering Turkey full membership. The negotiations are expected to take at least another ten years. There are still some key issues to be resolved: Turkey does not recognise one member of the EU, Cyprus, and the EU has concerns about Turkey’s size and economy.